Indian Women's Hockey Triumph in Asian Champions Trophy Final
Indian Women's Hockey Triumph in Asian Champions Trophy Final

New Delhi: In a stunning display of skill and teamwork, the Indian women's hockey team claimed victory in the Asian Champions Trophy final, dethroning Japan with a resounding 4-0 win. The championship match took place in Ranchi, and the Indian team showcased their dominance on the field.

The goals in this spectacular win came from local talent, Sangita Kumari (17th min), Neha Goyal (46th), Lalremsiami (57th), and Vandana Katariya (60th). This victory marks India's second Asian Champions Trophy win, with their previous triumph in 2016 in Singapore.

Notably, this championship title is India's first since December 2022, when the team secured victory in the FIH Nations Cup in Valencia, earning their qualification for the Pro League.

The final match faced a slight delay as one of the floodlights failed to illuminate the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh AstroTurf Hockey Stadium, causing a 50-minute postponement. However, once the game commenced, India's women's team demonstrated their prowess, fueled by the enthusiastic support of the Indian men's team in the audience, who had clinched the continental tournament title in Chennai earlier in the year.

The hosts launched the final with a strong attacking strategy, immediately putting pressure on Japan's defense. Although Japan managed to hold on for some time, the deadlock was eventually broken when Navneet Kaur made a brilliant run into the Japanese striking circle. She passed to Neha, who then pushed the ball to Sangita. The young player from Jharkhand found the net, securing her sixth goal of the tournament and delighting the 10,000-strong crowd.

While Japan managed to equalize with a goal after some time, it was disallowed after India's referral. Captain Savita Punia exhibited exceptional goalkeeping skills, saving three consecutive penalty corner (PC) attempts and even stopping a penalty stroke in the final quarter.

India's second goal came via a PC variation, with Deepika passing to Deep Grace Ekka, who struck the ball, and Neha was perfectly positioned in front of the goal to score. Lalremsiami added India's third goal, also through a PC. Vandana Katariya sealed the victory with a goal in the final minute.

In the third-place playoff, China narrowly defeated South Korea 2-1.

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